MEDFORD, Ore. — When the coronavirus pandemic began to spread around the United States, the construction projects to improve the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport were put on hold. But after the introduction of the CARES Act, which provided the Medford airport with $15 million in funding, they're back on.
The Federal Aviation Administration will now be paying the "local share" of the projects, which helps in a few ways.
"Number one, it doesn't affect our local money here at the airport now that the FAA has picked up the local share," Jerry Brienza, the airport director at the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport, said. "And number two, really, it puts people back to work."
The projects include a new jet bridge and repaving and painting the taxi lanes on the tarmac. With fewer passengers traveling, it will make it easier to complete the projects so the airport is ready when travel restrictions begin to be lifted.
The Medford Airport receives about 75 percent of its funding through passenger travel. But with travel down, the airport says they've lost about 85 to 95 percent of that revenue generated by people traveling.
"Right now, we're anticipating that the airport is losing about $750,000 a month," Brienza said. "So to put it in perspective, we think we have about 18 months of operating revenue with that $15 million [from the CARES Act]. That is solely if everything stays constant right now."